Sports and politics provide similar outlets

Brian Kimmes

Brian Kimmes

Sports may be my greatest passion. I’m not sure. It is a toss-up between sports and politics. Which one do I care more about, and how can I feel so passionately about each of them? On the surface, they appear to be quite different, and almost irreconcilable. But is that really true? Are politics and sports completely different, or do they share similarities?

Maybe the reason why I feel so strongly about each of them is because of my competitive nature. Both activities require a strong desire to win. In politics and sports, each person needs to be incredibly committed to achieve victory. Participants need to be dedicated. Without discipline and commitment, victory is not possible.

In politics and sports, you need to be aggressive. It is about pushing forward and taking the initiative. To succeed in either, you need to make your opponent play your style, to respond to you. In sports, you need to play your game, make your opponents adjust to you. In politics, you need to define the issues. You need to make your opponent respond to your comments, and to the issues that you want to discuss. You need to battle on your turf for both.

Both sports and politics are team-oriented. No one person can win without help. In sports, it takes the entire team playing well to win. In politics, it takes an entire staff and volunteers working together to generate the votes for a candidate to win.

Both fields also give rise to debate. In politics, debate always ensues about which stance to take on an issue, which candidate performed better in the debate, which party is better to lead the nation. The political talk shows revolve around argument and debate, much the way sports talk shows do. Sports reporters constantly discuss and argue about sports: Which team is better, which player deserves the MVP, which team deserves to play in the championship game.

Debating is something I love and look to participate in whenever possible. Sports and politics are two outlets for me to argue. Sports tend to be less serious arguments, but not less fun. Political arguing tends to be more serious. They allow for one to be more intellectual, whereas sports are more entertainment-oriented and allow amusement.

But really, why do I find both so fascinating? There are similarities, but a lot of different things have similarities. What is it about the two that I find so compelling?

I suppose it is because both inspire such great passion. In politics, people live and die with elections. People yell and scream about issues they feel passionately about. People will volunteer countless hours and donate countless dollars to candidates they have never met, but in whom they believe strongly.

Sports also inspire similar passion. Fans spend hundreds of dollars on tickets and apparel. They paint their faces and dress in ridiculous costumes. Most fans do not ever meet actual players on their favorite team. They cheer for people they never meet.

I am reminded of when I worked on a political campaign. It happened to be the year the Boston Red Sox won the World Series. I watched the final game of the Series with a fellow campaign worker from Boston. She was so excited when the Sox won, she was actually moved to tears. A few weeks later, the elections happened. My candidate lost. As we watched the results come in and realized our guy would lose, a friend and fellow campaign worker was so saddened, she was moved to tears.

Two different people reacted the same way at the results of a political election and a baseball game. They were so moved emotionally, they wept. One for joy. One for sadness.

Politics and sports are two of our country’s most popular fascinations. They dominate television. At any time of the day, a person finds a political show and a sporting event on television. The two seemingly completely different areas actually have many similarities. I am fortunate enough to find both fascinating.

#1.883398:2207854054.jpg:ball_talk.jpg:Brian Kimmes, Ball Talk: